Head and neck cancer patients are now benefiting from a new light therapy treatment which tackles a common side effect caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is being offered at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals to prevent or treat oral mucositis. It occurs when cancer treatments damage the lining of the mouth. This can leave the tissue vulnerable to ulceration and infection. The treatment is used by applying infrared light to tissue and it is able to reduce inflammation and improve healing.

A £31,000 grant from Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity Funding allowed for the purchase of the two laser machines for the radiotherapy departments at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals. This treatment will have a significant positive impact on Radiotherapy patients.

Jenny Gale, radiotherapy sister at Colchester hospital, said: "Evidence shows patients need less pain relief when they’ve had PBM, and they generally cope with their treatment better."

Glenn Martin and Tony Bell, pictured, were among the first patients to have PBM at Colchester Hospital. Glenn, 69, said: “It will make a massive difference to people.”

Tony, who’s also 69, said his first experience of the treatment was “a breeze”. He added: “I’m grateful to be able to have it.”